21 Oct 11 Preamble - Friday 21 October 2011
On Friday 14 October I had the opportunity to address the Menzies Research Centre tax roundtable in Sydney. From The Tax Institute’s perspective, Australia’s tax system is too big and too important not to be subject to continual public discussion and scrutiny of the type facilitated at this event and recently at the Government's tax forum. So we once again welcomed the opportunity to contribute to the debate.
The roundtable included tax professionals, economists, academics, MPs and Senators, all of whom are keen to see improvements in our tax system. The event was televised and a transcript of the proceedings will shortly be available on the Research Centre website: http://www.mrcltd.org.au/
The Tax Institute has long called for the Government to give a sustained commitment to tax reform for the benefit of all Australians. This requires a measured and structured approach to reform, that includes a timeline and a process for advancing priority issues. This must be in place to ensure continued work on tax reform beyond the recent tax forum.
I outlined the history of the Henry Review, including its commissioning over three years ago and its newfound popularity under the minority Government with Rob Oakeshott MP. I also spoke about the need for leadership on the issue of Commonwealth-State relations, including in the area of State taxes and revenues. The Commonwealth Government needs to take the reins on this issue and bring the States on board with a unified vision for tax reform in Australia. State taxes are increasingly irregular, inconsistent, inefficient and an impediment to investment and growth. The Commonwealth Government must work with the States to ensure their revenues are protected as inefficient state taxes (such as stamp duties) are abolished.
I reiterated our call for an independent body that is solely tasked with examining implementation blueprints for various tax reform options. The work of such a body would feed directly into Government decision-making processes, so that tax reform remains a serious consideration with a clear roadmap for reaching a realistic reform destination. I concluded with some comments about the tax forum and the announced outcomes.
Please feel free to be in touch with me at Tax Policy.
Please see below for details of other activities this week.
Robert Jeremenko FTIA